One advantage I can think of is when we increase the wing's angle of incidence to decrease fuselage drag and increase takeoff lift, but would higher stalling angles always be better in terms of flight safety? And how low could a stalling angle be in terms of safety?


1 Answer 1


Increase the wings angle of incidence to decrease fuselage drag.

That's exactly how the B-52 bomber was designed and built in the 1950s.

Other very important factors are weight and airspeed in determining angle of attack necessary for flight.

What designers strive for is optimal wing area and angle of attack at cruise speed within a weight range to minimize fuel consumption.

This is why airliners are excellent gliders, with V best glide near their cruising (indicated) airspeed.

One would also sensibly limit weight so that Angle of Attack does not come too close to the stall limit. However, with adequate power, one can increase the amount of lift being produced by the square of the increase in airspeed.

This is a far safer approach than using increase in AoA to increase lift, as drag increases exponentially as AoA approaches stall.

Finally, "drooping" the nose does not affect wing AoA, but for lighter models (stored in windy places) it is good to be able to get 0 or negative AoA on the wing. Tricycle gear can help this, with the nose wheel a little lower. Make sure you have enough elevator authority (in design) to rotate at takeoff speed.

  • $\begingroup$ The B-52's wing has a relatively high angle of incidence because the B-52 cannot rotate at takeoff due to the very aft landing gear, not to decrease fuselage drag. $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Jun 14, 2023 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget pilot vision: The F8U Crusader even jacked the wing up so the fuselage angle during approach and landing was low so the pilot could better see where the plane is going. $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2023 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ @sophit well, after the gear is up then it really gets to be an $airplane$. Lowering fuselage drag helps. I wonder, instead of swinging the wing back and forth, perhaps an adjustable incidence ... $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2023 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, after the gear is up then it really gets to be an airplane but with a wing with an incidence so high that it has to fly with the nose slightly pointing downward. This doesn't help in reducing drag. $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Jun 14, 2023 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ those B-52 flaps have such a large chord & extend so far back, that they behave like a variable incidence wing $\endgroup$
    – user21228
    Jun 15, 2023 at 7:37

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